My research interests lie in clinical and clinical health psychology. I study coping with trauma, chronic illness, and other stressful life events and am particularly interested in whether individuals from historically oppressed or stigmatized groups experience unique stressors or exhibit culturally specific coping processes. Much of my research, therefore, targets ethnic/racial minorities, women, gay men and lesbians, and persons living with HIV. The health disparities and unmet needs in the oppressed communities I study have motivated my efforts to develop and empirically test culturally relevant disease prevention and health promotion interventions.
1. Developing and evaluating efficacious HIV medication adherence interventions. The exacting levels of adherence required, indefinitely, for the success of antiretroviral medications has propelled research on effective intervention strategies. Dr. Simoni has contributed to this effort by leading five NIMH-funded RCTs evaluating culturally appropriate and ultimately disseminable adherence promotion strategies. Two of these are recognized by CDC as evidenced-based and are distributed through their DEBI website. She has been a collaborator or mentor on numerous other RCTs of adherence interventions in the U.S., China, and Africa.
a. Simoni, J. M., Wiebe, J. S., Sauceda, J. A., Huh, D., Sanchez, G., Longoria, V., et al. (2013). A preliminary RCT of CBT-AD for adherence and depression among HIV-positive Latinos on the U.S.-Mexico border: The Nuevo Día study. AIDS and Behavior, 17(8), 2816–2829. PMCID: PMC3788062
b. Simoni, J. M., Chen, W. T., Huh, D., Fredriksen-Goldsen, K. I., Pearson, C., Zhao, H., Shiu C. S., Wang, X., & Zhang, F. (2011). A preliminary randomized controlled trial of a nurse-delivered medication adherence intervention among antiretroviral therapy-naïve outpatients in Beijing, China. AIDS Behavior, 15(5), 919-29. PMCID: PMC3583199
c. Simoni, J. M., Huh, D., Frick, P. A., Pearson, C. R., Andrasik, M. P., Dunbar, P. J., & Hooton, T. (2009). Peer support and pager messaging to promote antiretroviral modifying therapy in Seattle: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 52(4), 465-473. PMCID: PMC2795576
d. Simoni, J. M., Pantalone, D. W., Plummer, M. D., & Huang, B. (2007). A randomized controlled trial of a peer support intervention targeting antiretroviral adherence and depressive symptomatology among HIV-positive men and women. Health Psychology, 26(4), 488-495. PMCID: PMC4044097
2. Informing best practices for HIV medication adherence promotion through methodological analysis and systematic reviews. Combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection has dramatically decreased morbidity and mortality for persons living with HIV. However, the strict adherence required for optimal outcomes has proven to be an elusive goal. Dr. Simoni has taken the lead (or collaborated) on multiple systematic reviews of theory, assessment, and intervention research. Findings of the utility of self-report strategies and the efficacy of behavioral interventions have helped to guide best practices in the field.
a. Thompson MA, Mugavero MJ, Amico KR, Cargill VA, Chang LW, Gross R, Orrell C, Altice FL, Bangsberg DR, Bartlett JG, Beckwith CG, Dowshen N, Gordon CM, Horn T, Kumar P, Scott JD, Stirratt MJ, Remien RH, Simoni JM, & Nachega JB. (2012). Guidelines for improving entry into and retention in care and antiretroviral adherence for persons with HIV: evidence-based recommendations from an International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care panel. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(11), 817–33. PMCID:
b. Simoni, J. S., Amico, K. R., Pearson, C. R., & Malow, R. M. (2008). Strategies for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy: A Review of the literature. Current Infectious Disease Reports, 10, 515-521. PMCID: PMC18945394
c. Simoni, J. M., Kurth, A. E., Pearson, C. R., Pantalone, D. W., Frick, P. A., & Merrill, J. O. (2006). Self-report measures of antiretroviral therapy adherence: A review with recommendations for HIV clinical management. AIDS and Behavior, 10(3), 227-45. PMCID: PMC16783535
d. PMC4044043Simoni, J. M., Pearson, C. R., Pantalone, D. W., Marks, G., & Crepaz, N. (2006). Efficacy of interventions in improving highly active antiretroviral therapy adherence and HIV-1 RNA viral load: A meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome, 43, S23-S35. PMCID: PMC4044045
3. Assessing, conceptualizing, and intervening with respect to HIV-positive status disclosure. For persons living with HIV, decisions around how, when, and to whom to disclosure their serostatus are vexing personal dilemmas. Their choices can impact their ability to secure social support and their risk reduction practices. From early in the epidemic, Dr. Simoni has examined the extent of HIV disclosure among important subgroups (e.g., women, Latinos, African Americans, mothers) to key targets (e.g., sexual partners, children, providers). She has assisted with a theoretical conceptualization of disclosure processes and, most recently, led an NICHD-funded study to develop and evaluate a parental HIV disclosure intervention in China that demonstrated diminished parental distress around disclosure decision-making.
a. Simoni, J. M., Yang, J. P., Shiu, C. S., Chen, W. T., Udell, W., Bao, M. J., Zhang, L., & Lu, H. Z. (2015). Nurse-delivered counseling intervention for parental HIV disclosure: Results from a pilot randomized controlled trial in China. AIDS, 29- S1, S99-107. PMCID: PMC5096449
b. Chaudoir, S. R., Fisher, J. D., & Simoni, J. M. (2011). Understanding HIV/AIDS disclosure: A review and application of the Disclosure Processes Model. Social Science and Medicine, 72(10), 1618-1629. PMCID: PMC4059828
c. Simoni, J. M., & Pantalone, D. W. (2005). Secrecy and safety in the age of AIDS: HIV disclosure and safer sex. In S. Kalichman (Ed.), Positive prevention: Reducing HIV transmission among people living with HIV-AIDS (pp. 65-98). New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum.
d. Simoni, J. M., Demas, P., Mason, H. R. C., Drossman, J. A., & Davis, M. L. (2000). HIV disclosure among women of African descent: Associations with coping, social support, and psychological adaptation. AIDS and Behavior, 4(2), 147-158. doi:10.1023/A:1009508406855
4. Conceptualizing, developing, and evaluating peer support strategies to promote health. Peers have been long been an important source of support for individuals coping with chronic illness, yet little research had systematically evaluated their role and impact. Dr. Simoni, since her dissertation study, has examined how peers can intervene to promote health and wellness, systemically reviewed their efficacy with respect to HIV, and developed and evaluated efficacious peer support interventions. She has played a supporting role in peer intervention studies in women with HIV and childhood obesity. This work has highlighted the importance of rigorously evaluating the role of peers to optimize their impact.
a. Horvath, K. J., Oakes, J. M., Rosser, B. R. S., Danilenko, G., Vezina, H., Amico, K. R., Williams ML, Simoni J. (2013). Feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of an online peer-to-peer social support ART adherence intervention. AIDS and Behavior, 17(6), 2031–2044. PMCID: PMC3674213
b. Simoni, J. M., Franks, J., Lehavot, K., & Yard, S. A. (2011). Peer interventions to promote health: Conceptual considerations. Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 81(3), 351-359. PMCID: PMC3607369
c. Simoni, J.M., Nelson, K.M., Franks, J.C., Yard, S., Lehavot, K. (2011). Are peer interventions for HIV efficacious? A systematic review. AIDS and Behavior, 15(8), 1589-95. PMCID: PMC3607378
d. Simoni, J. M., Huh, D., Frick, P. A., Pearson, C. R., Andrasik, M. P., Dunbar, P. J., & Hooton, T. (2009). Peer support and pager messaging to promote antiretroviral modifying therapy in Seattle: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 52(4), 465-473. PMCID: PMC2795576
5. Developing and evaluating efficacious mHealth interventions. The rise in digital technology has expanded options for health promotion interventions. Dr. Simoni has taken the lead in designing an electronic alarm-based HIV medication adherence intervention as well as a computer-based program for counseling persons recently diagnosed with HIV. She has collaborated on other social media and SMS-based adherence interventions. This work has the potential to expand the impact of trained professionals in limited-resource settings.
a. Odeny, T. A., Bailey, R. C., Bukusi, E. A., Simoni, J. M., Tapia, K. A., Yuhas, K., Holmes, K. K., & McClelland, R. S. (2014). Effect of text messaging to deter early resumption of sexual activity after male circumcision for HIV prevention: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 65(2). PMCID:
c. Horvath, K. J., Danilenko, G. P., Williams, M. L., Simoni, J., Amico, K. R., Oakes, J. M., & Rosser, B. R. S. (2012). Technology use and reasons to participate in social networking health websites among people living with HIV in the US. AIDS and Behavior, 16(4), 900–910. PMCID: PMC3454490
d. PMC3867588Simoni, J. M., Huh, D., Frick, P. A., Pearson, C. R., Andrasik, M. P., Dunbar, P. J., & Hooton, T. (2009). A randomized controlled trial of peer support and pager messaging to promote antiretroviral therapy adherence and clinical outcomes. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 52, 465-473. PMCID: PMC2795576.